Board Member Spotlight – Deborah Jonsson

Deborah Jonsson – Avow

Why are you involved in PRSA Gulf Coast Chapter?

Before moving from New York to Naples in 2003, I had been involved with the local and state level School Public Relations Associations including serving as a board member in both. The professional education and networking available through my membership helped me immensely as a new practitioner. When I arrived in Naples, I immediately looked for a local public relations association chapter to engage with. I’ve been a member of our PRSA Gulf Coast Chapter for a number of years. I enjoy networking with members and gain helpful insight from the monthly education presentations.

What position do you currently hold on the board?

About two years ago I decided it was time for me to give back so I joined the Gulf Coast Chapter Board. Currently, I’m serving as Member Recruitment Chair. My affiliation with the Board has been a very positive experience. I’ve been able to participate in Sunshine District leadership programs and attend annual conferences, which in addition to helping with my professional development, connects me with peers from across the state.

How long have you been working for Avow? What is your favorite aspect about working there?

I’m the Public Relations Manager at Avow and I’ve worked there since 2003. Key services at Avow revolve around end-of-life care and grief support – very difficult subjects that require creative public relations efforts to build awareness. We are also a non-profit so we need to fundraise. My work at Avow has been very rewarding and has offered me a wide variety of experience supporting the re-branding of the organization and multi-million dollar fundraising campaigns.

What is your day-to-day like?

A day in the life for the PR Manager at Avow would make your head spin! Today I met with staff to design a community outreach program, created promotional materials for a fall fundraising event, designed and placed advertising for our marketing department, scheduled our television commercial video shoot, reviewed news releases, preliminary design work on an upcoming fundraising campaign logo, answered 25 questions from staff, wrote a thank you note to volunteer photographer, ordered print materials from commercial printer, made a presentation to a local organization we hope to partner with for a future friend-raising event. And that was just by lunch! 🙂

Do you have any hobbies that you enjoy outside of work?

When I’m not working I enjoy time with my husband, children and grandchildren and my dog! I’m a painter, but my creative time is limited. I also enjoy travel; I’m looking forward to a trip to Ireland this fall.

IMAGINE SOLUTIONS: The Effects of a World Class Forum on Southwest Florida

Join us for our April Lunch N’ Learn event on Tuesday, April 23rd  at The Hilton Naples:

randy antik imagin solutionsYou are probably familiar with two national forums called TED and The Aspen Institute.  But did you know we have one right here in our own back yard?  “IMAGINE SOLUTIONS” just took place in February and has attracted national sponsorships from GE, CVS/Caremark and Shell Oil Corporation to name a few; and national media partners, such as NOVA, National Geographic Society, the Economist and Harvard Business Review.

You may ask yourself, how does a presentation about a forum such as this affect me and my business, organization or clients? Join us on Tuesday, April 23rd to find out. CEO of Imagine Solutions, Randy Antik, explains how this world class forum started in Naples. He’ll herald its successes, as well as be open about its challenges. But most of all, you can be a part of influencing where it goes from here! IMAGINE SOLUTIONS provides our PRSA chapter with an ideal case study that is making news and history right now. A forum of this size and importance can have the same national and global appeal, as well as cultural and economic impact on our community as TED or The Aspen Institute have on California and Colorado. The demographic it attracts could be very beneficial to us and our target markets. Mark your calendars for Tuesday, April 23rd to be a part of the discovery!


11:30 – 11:55 a.m. Networking

11:55 a.m. – 12:20 p.m. Lunch

12:00 – 1:00 p.m. “The Effects of a World Class Forum on Southwest Florida .”


$24 PRSA Members

$29 Non-Members

$27 Non-Profits

$15 Students

*No shows will be billed if no prior notice given and only checks accepted at the door

NOTE: To guarantee seating and meal, you must register online by Friday, April 19th.



About Randy Antik

Randy Antik lives full-time in Naples, Fla. and is chief executive officer for Searching for Solutions Institute (SFSI), a 501c3 public foundation established in 2007.

Antik devoted two years to traveling across the country to meet with the top executives at the Aspen Institute, TED (Technology, Entertainment and Design), the Milken Global Institute, and many thought leaders as part of the market research in establishing SFSI in Naples. A long-time attendee of thought-leader conferences, Antik saw an unmet need for intellectual networking with a purpose and an untapped resource for bringing together like-minded people who want to effect social change and make a difference both in Southwest Florida and at a national level.

In his role as chief experience officer, Randy Antik is the principal author of the “learn + involve” strategy to bring alive the vision of “enabling exceptional leaders to leverage their capabilities to effectively address social issues.” Randy travels the country meeting with potential national sponsors and speakers for the annual Imagine Solutions conference. He has built a network of thought-leaders through his long-standing associations at various conferences and is responsible for researching and securing world-class speakers for the Imagine Solutions conference.

Randy Antik has spent more than 35 years in his professional career working for private families (Pritzger, Carlson, Bass) and private equity firms (Warburg Pincus and Wells, Carson, Anderson & Stowe). Randy was involved in a number of turnaround and fast growth situations with a strong emphasis on consumer products and marketing service companies. He has served in the CEO role for six companies on behalf of these major investors, representing more than $4 billion in annualized revenues. Randy Antik founded a marketing consulting firm, Swat Team Partners in 2001, where he is currently “of counsel.”

Antik is passionate about education, leadership, the arts and sciences, tomorrow’s heroes and health care, where he has been involved on both a local and a national level in supporting a series of projects in the nonprofit and public sectors. These include working with nonprofit visionaries such as All Kinds of Minds, a nonprofit foundation affiliated with the University of North Carolina and Dr. Mel Levine; executive board member for Meadows School of Arts and Communications at SMU; orchestrator in the development of a wood art gallery concept in Neiman Marcus for 25 emerging artists; supporter of French Wood Artists Conclave in 2003 and 2006; involved with several major photographers in developing cultural and business affiliations including Frans Lanting, Brian Lanker and Alison Shaw; supporting Wade Davis and his work on behalf of National Geographic in anthropological studies; sponsor of Tibet Antique Arts show in the U.S. in 2000 and 2003; new project development with Wood Hole Oceanographic Institute; business sponsor of MIT Media Lab and friend to RISD, Cooper Union.

Antik has served on the following boards: Sacred Heart Hospital (10 years), Outward Bound (four years), IMC2, All Kinds of Minds (founders committee), YMCA (president), U.S. Track and Field AAU, SMU Meadows School and Museum, RISD advisor to president.

He holds a BA from Colby College and a graduate degree from Harvard University.


February PRSA Lunch N Learn – Forward Thinking

Join Us For “FORWARD THINKING” with The Philharmonic Center for the Arts’  

Campaigns Director Rachel Applegate


Rachel Applegate
Rachel Applegate

The Naples Philharmonic Center for the Arts has a 20+ year history with the southwest Florida community and has become a beacon to arts enthusiasts and even influenced the growth of Collier County. That said, how does “The Phil” continue to evolve and  thrive?  Join us for this community case study on how The Phil is forging new partnerships to galvanize the arts community, work with area schools, attract the next generation, first time fans and more!

Tuesday February 26, 2013 Schedule:

11:30 – 11:55 a.m.  Networking

11:55 a.m. – 12:20 p.m.  Lunch

12:20 – 1:00 p.m.  Presentation



$24  PRSA Members
$29  Non-Members
$27  Non-Profits
$15  Students
*No shows will be billed if no prior notice given and only cash and checks accepted at the door. NOTE: To guarantee seating and meal, please register online by Friday, February 22. 

Register By Clicking Here

Effective Media Buying in Today’s Media Landscape

Jim Poh, Poh Media

Join us for our March Lunch N’ Learn event on Tuesday, March 26th  at The Hilton Naples to hear:

Effective Media Buying in Today’s Media Landscape – with Jim Poh of Poh Media, Sunrise, FL

  • How your advertising dollars can go as far as possible
  • Position your business or organization to receive solid ROI
  • The latest in social media tips to supplement your plan

Jim Poh is a member of (AAAA) American Association of Advertising Agencies and  is an expert at well-rounded media buying and more.  Mark your calendar for this cost-saving, brand raising program!

Jim has been part of some of the most innovative and successful campaigns of the past 10 years, including the U.S. launch of the Mini Cooper, Virgin Atlantic Airways, Burger King and American Legacy Foundations “Truth” Anti-Smoking Campaign.


11:30 – 11:55 a.m. Networking

11:55 a.m. – 12:20 p.m. Lunch

12:00 – 1:00 p.m. “Effective Media Buying in Today’s Media Landscape.”


$24 PRSA Members

$29 Non-Members

$27 Non-Profits

$15 Students

*No shows will be billed if no prior notice given and only checks accepted at the door

NOTE: To guarantee seating and meal, you must register online by Friday, March 22nd.



Jim was V.P. Media Director at Crispin, Porter + Bogusky from 2001-2009. Under Jim’s leadership, CP+B won four Media Lions at the Cannes Advertising Festival including the first U.S. Grand Prix win for “Truth.” CP+B won four awards in Mediaweeks “Media Plan of the Year” competition including the top award in 2003. The agency was recognized by the OAAA for the Outdoor Media Plan of the Year Award in 2003 and the MPA’S Kelly Award for outstanding use of magazines in 2003 and 2005. His group was named Media Department of the year by Media Magazine in 2005 and 2006. Jim was an Advertising Age “Media Maven” in 2001 and one of the Min Magazine’s “21 Most Intriguing” of 2004. In prior positions, Jim was part of several Effie winning teams, including the Grand Effie in 1988, and was names “Toughest Print Negotiator” by Media and Marketing Decisions in 1990.

Before CP+B, Jim ran Media First Internationals’ Office in Boston, where he had previously worked at Arnold on Volkswagen and Ocean Spray. Jim began his career in New York, starting with Wells Rich Greene in 1981 and ending with an 11 year run at Jordan, McGrath Case and Taylor. The Poh Media Media Neutral Approach is a culmination of the learning from all these experiences, starting with the rigors and discipline of packaged goods brands from P&G, Quaker Oats etc., and fully realized in the creative, ground breaking efforts for numerous clients at CP+B.

Public Relations Community Showcase for Nonprofits

nonprofit-seminarThe Florida Public Relations Association Southwest Florida Chapter and Public Relations Society of America Gulf Coast Chapter have teamed up to present a Public Relations Community Showcase for Nonprofits on April 19 from 8 to 11 a.m. at the Lee County Election Center in south Fort Myers.

Six local PR and media professionals from Fort Myers and Naples will provide information and tips on the following topics: Writing News Releases, Crisis Communication, Communicating with the Media, Event Planning, Social Media, Public Speaking and more.

Admission will be $10 per attendee which includes the full presentation and a light breakfast.

The Election Center is located at 13180 S. Cleveland Ave. behind Robb & Stucky across from the Bell Tower Shops.

Seating is limited.


Lee County Election Center

13180 S. Cleveland Ave

Fort Myers, Fl

Date: April 19, 2013

Start Time:8:00 am
End Time: 11:00 am

Price: $10.00

Click Here To Register

About Florida Public Relations Association

The Florida Public Relations Association was founded in 1938 and is the oldest public relations organization in the United States. As a statewide Association, FPRA holds approximately 1,500 professional and student members, all that form the 15 professional and 11 student chapters. The Southwest Florida chapter has over 100 members and is dedicated to programs and activities that enhance the success of public relations professionals in Lee, Collier, Charlotte, Hendry, and Glades Counties.

About the Public Relations Society of America

The Public Relations Society of America was chartered in 1947 and is the world’s largest and leading organization of public relations professionals with more than 21,000 professionals across the United States. Furthermore, there are more than 10,000 students who are members of the Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA) at colleges and universities here and abroad. The Gulf Coast Chapter of the PRSA is dedicated to providing you with educational opportunities for personal and professional growth achievement.

Keep Your Eyes and Mind Open to Possibilities – PRSA Gulf Coast Lunch N Learn

January 2013 PRSA Gulf Coast Lunch N Learn
Geri Evans

Join us for our first luncheon event of 2013 on Tuesday, January 22nd at The Hilton Naples to hear Geri Evans, national board member of the Public Relations Society of America.

Geri Evans will speak about the power of networking and building key relationships in her presentation, ‘Keeping Your Eyes and Mind Open to Possibilities.” Geri is making a special trip to Naples just for this presentation and will certainly launch us into 2013 with confidence and an action plan!  Geri Evans,  is a national board member of the Public Relations Society of America, keynote speaker, presentation coach and owner of Evans PR Group in Orlando, Florida
Geri Evans, MA, APR, is an experienced public relations professional, public speaker, writer, consultant, and educator. In 2003 she opened her own public relations firm focusing on message development, powerful communication, personal and professional development, and leadership. Among her clients are HGTV, Adventist Healthcare System, Wycliffe Bible Translators, the American Hospital Association, the Orange County Public Library System and other national and local businesses and organizations. See more on Geri Evans below the registration information.

To Register, Click Here!


11:30 – 11:55 a.m. Networking

11:55 a.m. – 12:20 p.m. Lunch

12:00 – 1:00 p.m. “First Year Challenges and Triumphs: Fifth Avenue South”


$24 PRSA Members

$29 Non-Members

$27 Non-Profits

$15 Students

*No shows will be billed if no prior notice given and only cash and checks accepted at the door

NOTE: To guarantee seating and meal, you must register online by Friday, January 18th.


Prior to this business venture, Geri was vice president of public relations for the state hospital association for four years, served as the director of public relations for a boutique hotel chain in Orlando, taught communications on a full-time or part-time basis for 26 years, was a special features and sports editor for three years, and designed and taught an award-winning reading program for at-risk students. Geri is a national speaker and consultant who has won numerous awards for her seminars and presentations.

Ms. Evans is currently in her final year of a three-year term on the national Board of Public Relations Society of America. She also serves as liaison to the national Board of Public Relations Student Society of America and the Universal Accreditation Board.

Highly active in the Central Florida community, Geri is a graduate of Leadership Orlando, the immediate past-president of the Orlando Breakfast Rotary Club, past-president of the Orlando Chapter of Public Relations Society of America, former officer of the Foundation for Orange County Public Schools, member of the Mayor’s Domestic Violence Commission, Women’s Advisory Council and Women’s Resource Center.

Geri holds a B.S. in both English and Speech and an M.A. in Communications. She holds the top national accreditation in public relations. A Central Florida Packer Backer, this Wisconsin native loves to watch football and baseball and likes to play tennis and golf. She is married, has two sons, and three young grandchildren.

First Year Challenges & Triumphs: Fifth Avenue South’s Business Improvement District

We’re excited about our October Luncheon

Lise Sundrla, Executive Director Fifth Avenue South BID
Lise Sundrla, Executive Director Fifth Avenue South BID

It’s been just over a year since the owners and merchants of Fifth Avenue South joined forces to collectively market their venerable street as Naples’ premier shopping, dining and entertainment destination.

The newly established Business Improvement District (BID), with Lise Sundrla at the helm, was charged with engaging property owners, business owners & citizens; organizing visioning sessions; establishing working committees and a block captain program; and, most importantly, developing and implementing a comprehensive brand and marketing strategy.

You’ll hear first-hand experiences and insights from the people who made this happen and you’ll walk away with fresh ideas and helpful tactics. Please join us as we welcome:

• Lise Sundrla, Executive Director Fifth Avenue South BID

• Gail Webster, President IMA Creative, Inc.

• Stefania Martin, Vice President BID Board of Directors and Chair, Marketing Committee

These three professionals realize/admit/ know it’s an ongoing process of outreach and communication, and a testimony to collaboration, tolerance and good old-fashioned perseverance. This is a program not to be missed!

 To Register – Click Here




11:30 – 11:55 a.m. Networking

11:55 a.m. – 12:20 p.m. Lunch

12:00 – 1:00 p.m. “First Year Challenges and Triumphs: Fifth Avenue South”


$24 PRSA Members

$29 Non-Members

$27 Non-Profits

$15 Students

*No shows will be billed if no prior notice given and only cash and checks accepted at the door

NOTE: To guarantee seating and meal, you must register online by Friday, October  19th.

Writing for ROI – August Lunch N Learn

“Writing for ROI: How to Craft Your Press Release and Social Messaging to Get the Maximum Payoff”

Laura Sturaitis

Learn how to optimize a press release and your other messaging to get publicity, build brand awareness, increase web traffic, connect with your fans and generate leads online. Uncover how to use the metrics you have to determine the best use of your staff time and budget in charting the course for your PR campaigns.

Laura Sturaitis is Executive Vice President of Media Services & Product Strategy, and heads up Business Wire’s Global Media Relations, Content Licensing, Product Strategy, Public Policy, HQ Online Newsroom and Information Services teams.

Laura is responsible for the comprehensive and timely delivery of Business Wire feed of more than 1200 releases a day sent globally to print, broadcast, online and social media organizations using Business Wire’s multi-platform delivery methods. She is a recognized industry expert in the development of new media tools and services for the distribution, search engine optimization (SEO), social sharing and measurement ROI of press releases. For more than 20 years, she has been instrumental in the evolution of press release on the wire serving clients in public relations, corporate communications, investor relations and traditional and online media.

Her team has lead the industry on the integration and delivery of multimedia content with the press release as well as the display, performance, ranking and measurement of releases and their availability on all traditional as well as new platforms and devices such as mobile phones and tablets. She leads the HQ team which provides leading companies with state-of-the-art online newsrooms and investor centers for their website.

Laura and her team explore and evaluate business development opportunities and help set the direction for the products and services that provide professional communicators with the tools and technologies that get their news and information to audiences worldwide.

Laura has been a featured speaker at national conferences on topics such as Search Engine Optimization & Social Media, Multimedia & the Press Release, New Media Technologies, Measurement & Analytics, Media Relations and Online Communication Strategies.

Laura is a member of Business Wire’s Executive Board and also serves on the Board of, Business Wire’s 2009 joint venture, She is based in Fort Lauderdale, Florida and started her career with Business Wire in 1992 as Florida Regional Manager. Laura holds an MBA from Florida Atlantic University and a BA in English and Communication from St. Thomas University in Miami, FL.

Laura has the distinction of being a former Jeopardy! Champion. She enjoys travel, music, films, crafts, reading and taking courses on diverse topics online and at local universities and community colleges.

Areas of Expertise: Media Relations, SEO, Social Media, Content Licensing, PR & IR Services, Measurement & Analytics, Integrated Online Marketing and Business Communications.

You can follow her on Twitter @lsturaitis or LinkedIn at Laura Sturaitis

PRSA Member JoNell Modys Co-Hosts Radio Talk Show

PRSA Gulf Coast chapter member JoNell Modys co-hosted Reel Tallk, Saturday June 23rd on ESPN 770-AM.It is great to see our members out in the community doing their special style of PR.

Here was her quote,

“I’ll be co-hosting Reel Talk tomorrow (Saturday 6/23) morning from 7-9am on ESPN 770-AM.  You can listen at 770 AM in southwest Florida, listen online by clicking the Listen Live button in the upper left at, or download the free iRadioNow app from Beasley Broadcasting.  We talk about fishing, boating, the outdoors, cooking, dining and other fun stuff!

When Modys isn’t starring on Radio Shows, she is the PR & Communications Manager for the Naples, Marco Island, Everglades CVB

JA Picks PRSA Gulf Coasts’ Clay Cone for 2012 Collier County Advisory Board

Clay Cone 2012 Publicity Dudes Team

Junior Achievement of Southwest Florida ( named the members of its 2012 Business Hall of Fame, Collier County Advisory Board, which selects Laureates. The chair is John English of Barron Collier Cos. and the vice chair is Dr. Paul Jones. Other members selected to this year’s advisory board are Wilma Boyd, president/CEO of Preferred Travel of Naples; Carleton Case, vice president of business development of Brown & Brown Benefits; Clay W. Cone, president of Cone Communications Co.; Kristin Conroy, attorney with Conroy, Conroy & Durant; Carl Howes, vice president/controller of Pachira Co.; Jerry Nichols, executive vice president of Brown & Brown Benefits; Craig Sherman, senior vice president of commercial lending Collier for CNL Bank; Katie Sproul, vice president of real estate for Barron Collier Cos.; Lisa Barnett Van Dien, attorney at Cheffy Passidomo; and Len Zaiser IV of Azimuth Technology Inc.